by Matthew VonStein
“When we see the face of God we shall know that we have always known it. He has been a party to, has made, sustained and moved moment by moment within, all our earthly experiences of innocent love. All that was true love in them was, even on earth, far more His than ours, and ours only because His. In Heaven there will be no anguish and no duty of turning away from our earthly Beloveds. First, because we shall have turned already; from the portraits to the Original, from the rivulets to the Fountain, from the creatures He made lovable to Love Himself. But secondly, because we shall find them all in Him. By loving Him more than them we shall love them more than we now do.” – C.S Lewis
The two-year-old had just stacked his blocks and it was time to make sure dad saw it. “Dada! Dada!” he repeated as he pointed to the blocks.
His father looked up and saw the tower his son had constructed so proudly. Dad looked back down at his book, and as he did, he performed his fatherly duty to encourage his son: “Nice tower, buddy, I love it.”
The room fell silent.
There was something missing; the boy knew it. Something unsaid, something undone. His father’s reply was totally unsatisfying. The boy, determined, climbed onto the couch where his father sat reading and sipping his coffee. “Dah, dah…Dada,” he tried again to point out his work.
“Big tower! Awesome, little man.”
His dad said these words, but his attention still remained in the book he held. The room fell silent, but only for a moment. There was still something missing, unsatisfied, unmet.
This time the boy, without thinking really, knew exactly what he needed to do. This was not a complicated plan, this was something like instinct. He moved close to his Father, put both of his little hands on either side of his father’s unshaven face and turned his face towards his own.
The father allowed his son to do so, and looked at his little boy, their faces only inches apart.
This time, the father finally became aware of his son. He began to smile as his son still held his face with his small hand as he pointed with the other. They both looked at the blocks together, and then met eye to eye again. And finally, the man realized he needed to be something more than just a disengaged parent. He put his book down and held his son.
“Hey buddy,” he said softly, “Did you make that?”
“Uh huh!” The little boy’s eyes beamed in pride. He smiled with his dad and laughed.
“Did you stack those blocks all by yourself?”
“Uh huh!” The boy, again, without knowing why, held his breath for what was next.
“Hey my little man, I am so proud of you. Way to go!” The father hugged his son and gave him kisses.
The little boy climbed off the couch and went on to his next project, with a feeling of satisfaction he would eagerly work to experience again, even if he didn’t understand it. Whatever it was, he had found it in the face of his father.
His father climbed down and got on the floor with him, “Son, perhaps the blocks could stack even higher?”
I am no different than my children. No matter how old I get, I still want my father’s pride oriented towards me. I want my father to see himself in me, and smile. I was designed to be satisfied with his satisfaction in me.
But whether good or bad, every young man and woman will learn that an earthly father will, by success or by failure, awaken in us a desire which only our Abba Father can satisfy, which we were all designed to know.
I desire the face of my Father in Heaven, to have his attention, for his eyes to meet mine in love. I long to see my Father smile at me, to tell me he is proud.
Meet me, Father: in your Word, by your Spirit, through your people. Lord, thank you for the portraits which have stirred my affection for you. For your Son, who has given me access to your forgiveness.
May I be a portrait of your unconditional love, no matter how broken, for my friends. May I be a portrait of your sacrifice, no matter how imperfect, to my wife. May I be a portrait of your satisfaction in us, no matter how difficult, to my children. May I always show them my face and meet them eye to eye. May they find satisfaction in my joy in them, and may they, one day, be satisfied by a Father who loves fully and perfectly.
But no matter what I am to others, Lord, I long for the day when all of the portraits are made complete by the real thing. How I long to see your face, and to see you smile at me. Perhaps I could hold your face in my hands. Until then, guide my mind, heart, and hands to be satisfied in you. May all I do serve not to earn you, but to please you.
Numbers 6:24-26 – The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Matthew VonStein, his wife Michelle, and three children live in Shrewsbury, PA. Matthew has been on staff for Young Life for nearly a decade, and is now the director of Young Life for York & Adam’s County. He has had the privilege of being a guest speaker at churches throughout York for the past 8 years and has also been working on a 2-year master’s degree program for the past 7.5 years.